Black pepper shortbread with chevre, pine nuts, and marinated summer squash

August 15, 2012 § 9 Comments

As we get ready to leave Boston, people keep asking me if I have a Boston bucket list, the things I want to do – or do one last time – before we skip town for colder, more birch tree and lake filled climes.  I don’t for the most part.  My bucket list is really seeing people, the close friends or just the daily faces that are so familiar.

It’s entirely expected that I’ll miss our dear, wonderful friends, our neighbors, my fellow doctoral students.  I’ll miss them like the dickens.  What is less expected, but is a realization creeping up on me is how much I will probably wind up missing the UPS man, the hip barristas at the local coffee shop, the sandwich crafting artistes at the cafe, the goofy kids at the cash register at the dog bakery (yes, there’s a dog bakery in our neighborhood), the fellow dog owners I wave at every day when I’m out with Squid, the old guy in the short shorts and helmet from the early ’80s who rides his bike everywhere all year round.

These are the personalities, colors, faces, voices that make up what we have of community here.

Also on my bucket list is simply keeping my eyes open to appreciate the daily sights here.  We have a wonderful view from our apartment of lush tree tops and just the hints of skyscraper tops (Boston has all of 4 or 5 skyscrapers).  It’s Boston, so there are truly historic sites tucked in here and there and everywhere amidst daily life.  The trees and vines, flowers and bushes of the arboretum look like fairyscapes right now, so I’m trying to remember to breathe them in amidst the frenzy of everything else going on.

And, no surprise, there is a bit of a food bucket list.  We’re making quick runs to our favorite farm stands, an unhealthy number of stops at our favorite bakeries and ice cream shop, and by the end of next week, we’ll probably be floating away on a river of really excellent iced coffee.

Most exciting of all (well, maybe not of all, but it was definitely exciting), we finally went on a hot date to a rather fancy restaurant that we’ve been daydreaming about trying for a while.  For all my interest in food and reading of restaurant reviews in the Times, I have been to very few seriously fine dining establishments (approximately zero, before this).  I’ve been a grad student for a while, and all!  So, though I love the idea of it, I’m completely intimidated by fancy restaurants, and we probably would not have wound up going in the end had Joel’s aunt and uncle not brilliantly and generously given us a gift certificate as a birthday present.

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Roasted carrot and avocado salad

November 17, 2011 § 13 Comments

So, I know I said that I’m going for simple dishes right now, but I had to make an exception for this sexy little number.  I mean, just look at it.  Can you say no to this salad?

I didn’t think so.

I want to be forthright with you and let you know right from the start, this is a fussy piece of work.  But it’s worth it!  Worth it for the oohs and ahhs it will garner, as much for its flashy good looks as its gorgeous layers of flavors.

It’s a “chef recipe” (different from a chef salad!), hence the little twists and turns of technique that take extra time and attention but also elevate a salad to dinner party fare, or beyond.  The original recipe is from ABC Kitchen in New York (I think that means it errs on the side of haute) and translated for the home kitchen in the new Serious Eats cookbook.

I saw it on the food52 website, and my I-need-to-cook-that-right-now-dar started beeping like a metal detector in Fort Knox. (Do metal detectors even detect gold?  They do, right? I’m imagining one of those goofy paddle-shaped ones people bring to the beach, not the kind you walk through before going into a government building.) « Read the rest of this entry »

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